Nothing says Texas Rangers like power hitting outfielders. From current sluggers Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz to past greats like Ruben Sierra and Juan Gonzales the roster of outfielders with power is long and distinguished. The upcoming Rangers are no different than those that came before. Low A Hickory Crawdads were stacked with talent in the outfield during the 2011 campaign. The four players who saw the bulk of the playing time in the outfield were Joshua Richmond, Jacob Skole, Teodoro Martinez, and Jonathan Roof.
Jacob Skole was drafted in the first round of the 2010 MLB draft with the 15th overall pick. Skole played high school ball at Blessed Trinity Catholic School in Roswell, GA. He is 19 6’1 190 pounds and bats left and throws right. During the 2010 season he split time between Arizona and Spokane. In Spokane where he spent the majority of the year he posted offensive numbers of .254/.327/.354 in 201 at bats. In addition he posted 52 strikeouts to 23 base on balls. In 2011 in Hickory his offensive numbers were .264/.366/.389 in 424 at bats. His strikeouts were 138 to 65 walks. This strike out to base on balls percentage is nearly identical to his short season A numbers and indicate that he needs to concentrate on patience while in the box which will lead to more walks and better offensive numbers.
Joshua Richmond joined the Texas Rangers via the 12th round of the 2010 MLB draft out of the University of Louisville. He is 20 years old and stands 6’3 and 205 pounds, and is a pure righty. His 2010 season was spent in Spokane where he put up hitting numbers of .297/.417/.458 in 118 at bats. The offensive numbers he posted for 2011 were diminished at .247/.318/.409 with 462 at bats. Richmond also posted 11 homeruns and 50 RBI. It remains to be seen if he will be given another year to rebound his production value.
Teodoro Martinez is an international signee out of Venezuela. Although only 19 years of age 2011 was his third year with the Texas Rangers organization, having spent 2009 in the Dominican Summer League and 2010 in the Arizona Summer League. He is 5’11” 155 pounds and bats and throws right handed. His career minor league numbers are .288/.348/.376 for the three seasons he has played. His numbers with Hickory were .276/.333/.383 which are all down from his 2010 season in Arizona but are in line with his career stats. He also put up 3 home runs with 25 RBI in 214 at bats.
Jonathan Roof was drafted in the 8th round of the 2010 MLB draft out of Michigan State University. Roof is 22 years old, 6’1” 165 pounds and is a righty. He spent his 2010 season split between the Arizona League Rangers and in Hickory. 2011 was his second half season in Hickory and he posted offensive numbers of .275/.308/.364 in 236 at bats. These numbers showed a good increase over his 2010 Hickory numbers. His 2011 Hickory numbers included 2 homeruns and 38 RBI. At the end of the 2011 season he was promoted to Myrtle Beach.
At the conclusion of the year only Richmond stands with some concern over his long term career with the Rangers, but as always prospects come with risk and reward. With enough work in the off season and an above par spring training should help all four stay on the path to the big leagues. Stay tuned for these four.